We are still working on the edits. I am a ball of hate at the moment.
Mod R: They want to know about pastilla.
Me: The what?
Mod R: Pastilla. Opinions, memories, recipes, do you eat it as a dessert or with tea as a snack, what is this magic etc? Do you make it? Do you think it would work with banana?
Me: What the heck is pastilla…
Russian wikipedia: Пастила́ — кондитерское изделие из подсушенного фруктово-ягодного пюре или сока. Блюдо русской кухни (известно с XIV в.). Следует разделять белёвскую и коломенскую пастилы, так как приготовляются они по различным рецептам — первая скорее напоминает фруктовое суфле, а вторая близка зефиру и, как считается, является его прообразом.
I looked at the recipe. One is a fruit rollup. The other is whipped whites with agar in it. I don’t get it. I’ve never eaten this or seen it for sale. It looks kind of sus. I wouldn’t eat it.
The wikipedia mentions that it’s similar to zefir, which I have eaten. It’s was a cheap dessert.
But um, this is basically beaten egg white with some sugar and sometimes agar agar. It’s a marshmallow relative. It was considered inferior to a cookie or a muffin. I bought some one time and my grandma was genuinely offended that I would eat something like that.
I have watched the video for you.
Okay so it appears that they cook the apples into apple puree, whip up apple whites with sugar, and then add a buttton of agar agar to it. It’s jello with meringue and apple sauce in it.
I don’t get it.
Mod R, reading the draft: They mean this pastilla.
OMG, emmymade. Yeah. I’ve seen this channel before. I stopped following it because it just went into weird places. Desert of the czars. Yeah, sure, it is.
This is a viral fad recipe. If I served something like this at a family dinner, my Russian relatives would make fun of me for days. Not down with pastilla.
You are on your own.
If any of the other Russians want to take a stab at this silliness, I am all for it. Please comment.
Other Barbara says
I just learned Scots make haggis into fried bon bons. A world of creepy poor folks stuff
Other Barbars says
Was I first? Wowzers.
They also make a candy that looks like those you shared. Called tablet.
Donna A says
Scottish tablet is delicious and is basically very crumbly melt in the mouth fudge. Delicious yet soooo sweet. (Condensed milk, butter and sugar if I recall)
Oh please! Scot here – never heard of doing anything so weird with haggis, and tablet is the nectar of the gods, full of sugary buttery deliciousness ????
+1 on verifying what surfer girl said about haggis and tablet from a person south of Hadrians wall????
Other Barbara says
Oooh boy where can I find tablet or do I have to make it? My ancestry dna says I am 29% Scot,65% Irish. The scots came in 1700’s! From Jura and Mull and married within the group as they migrated together, through NC, SC and on to Georgia. My great grandmother McLean married a Smith in 1873.
I only knew my Irish side, none could cook worth a darn. Off to find tablet.
Sugar is a gift from God, yes indeed.
I treasure several recipes from my great-grandmother: knepla, cheese buttons, pult. One recipe I refuse to pass on is hard tack. It’s a weird bread-cracker hybrid used by pioneers. You smear butter on it and chew for a long, long time. I am grateful for what it did for my ancestors, but may the recipe fade into history.
As a Scott I can confirm that tablet is the best thing known to man. It gives me faith in my fellow countrymen that someone looked at fudge and said “Hold on guys, I think we can add more sugar”.
Tasha A says
I love this comment so much!
Sara Foehner says
YAY! LET’S HEAR IT FOR THE SCOTS!!
Haha! This right there ???? no to creepy haggis balls , yes to packed sugar with a drop of fudge ????
Moderator R says
Hi ModR, Like your V-day icon.
We have enough ‘odd’ things ‘we eat’ from Louisiana/South – not going to comment on others…
As my husband says, “If it walks, crawls, swims, or flies, we’ll eat it.” =)
And on a bad day, it all goes in the pot together….. Ah, Louisiana. It doesn’t make sense, but a good cook makes it taste good.
Um, I do some of those things. O_O
Kat M. says
Don’t get down on haggis. It’s delicious.
It really is.
Primera? +1 on pastilla not being my jam
Moderator R says
No, sorry ????
In the Philippines, it’ a candy
That’s what I thought it was at first too. I suppose it would mean different things to different countries. Good to see a fellow Pinay in BDH.
If I were desperate I might consider eating it, maybe…
Darra Goldstein mentions it in one of her cookbooks.
Here is a link to an article in English with a recipe: https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/how-to-make-pastila
Yes, that article is what started me down the Pastilla rabbit hole. I ordered some like 3 weeks ago when I originally sent in the question and it hasn’t arrived. From NYC to Virginia. It’s 3rd party, not Amazon.
Anyway, I Figured I would try the store bought before I try to make it, since it’s not a fast process.
The one that is called zefir looks to be made similarly to a southern ‘candy’ called Divinity. It’s essentially like eating pure sugar in a formed consistency. Yuck.
Maria R. says
Divinity? I’ve eaten Divinity fudge as a child, back on the East Coast of Canada…it was hmm, yes I’ll go with vile.
Pastilla in any version is so never touching my mouth. Best of luck to those who are entranced by it ????
But, divinity made with chopped pecans can be delicious! Just not more than one or two pieces at a time, admittedly. It’s more a holiday treat than something eaten regularly.
I agree! I’m from Georgia and learned to make divinity and pralines when I was very young. Homemade is nothing like store bought. I have served divinity during the winter holidays for decades to many people from many cultures. They’re always surprised at how good it is and there are never leftovers. Like anything, it has to be done right for it to be good.
Hum how does zefir differ from meringues? Aren’t meringues just sugar, beaten egg whites and cream of tartar? Baked at the correct temp and with the correct atmospheric conditions (humidity no Bueno for crispy crunch, LOL)
Moderator R says
As the article mentions, the addition of agar agar ????
Zefir is not crispy, it’s closer to marshmallow but it’s has some tartness to it to balance the sugar, also it’s denser than a marshmallow.
The red stuff reminds me of Quittenbrot, quince cheese, which is made out of puréed quinces and sugar. Pastilles made out apples sounds delicious, but baking it for 4-6 hours is something I probably won’t do.
Oh yes, it’s a thing here in Germany, at least in some regions.
Quittenbrot… tastes a lot like hardened fruit jam/jelly. Kind of weird but tasty.
We’ve got it in Bulgaria as well. It’s called “пестил” and NOBODY likes it nowadays. It was popular back in XVII-XIX centuries because sugar was expensive as hell, fruit were seasonal and they just had to turn them in jams, compotes or pestil/pastilla.
I’ve tried it once. I’ve bought it from the workshop at an ethno village (a village that is like a museum with lots of shops and workshop for traditional/folk products) and it was vile. However I got some very nice chopping boards and potteries and 10+ years later I still use them.
Moderator R says
Eastern European rustic pottery is just ????.If you know you know!
O hi Antonia! Fellow Bulgarian here – so nice we are a bunch of two. I know what pestil is, but have never tried it.
Where is the excerpt from RF? The link on the main site is dead.
Moderator R says
The link is not dead, I just checked it, it should take you to the preorder page ????.
The excerpt was removed recently because, as the past two blog post mention, intense edits are happening to Ruby Fever, including to Chapter 1.
It will be reposted momentarily, thank you for your patience ????
Jen Hendricks says
Alas! I am not Russian and so have nothing to add to the pastillo discussion, but I did want to say thank you for the book recommendation. I enjoyed Hunt the Stars immensely and am looking forward to the next book in July. ????????
Yes! Just finished it
Patricia Schlorke says
I’m still reading it. I’m trying to savor the book. ????
YAS! I get the best book recommendations from this blog, so thanks again!
Kelly M. says
So, now I wonder what HA’s favorite dessert is (Russian AND overall)… (and, like, all members of HA – if they’re anything like my family everyone has a different “favorite”).
I also am a ball of hate as tax season has just started. Sigh.
“I bought some one time and my grandma was genuinely offended that I would eat something like that.”
hahaha grandmas are like that. I miss mine. She passed away during covid (not of covid, just heart/diabetes) in another country after months of poor health and we couldn’t visit or attend the funeral.
Anyway, not to get too depressing just made me smile and thought of what my grandma would have said 🙂
Donna A says
Growing up we’d go on big family holidays every year to see our Yorkshire (West Riding for the win) relatives and although I’m a Londoner I’ve a got a northern twang to this day (pass not parse etc) and let’s not talk Lancs/Yorks border (my great uncle moved three miles across…!!)
There’s this thing called parkin we’d get that’s like a firmer chewy texture when it’s fresh or a softer cake after its matured a bit but still yum either way, spicy and flavoursome and a nice rich brown colour. It’s good but down here you don’t get it so much. And then one bonfire nights I saw some advertised in Waitrose and I was excited and bought some and. . . Needless to say it was ugh.
Not disgusting but not right. It was more like Mcvities ginger cake which I do like but that’s not parkin.
Yes as you say, both are nice, but to be given ginger cake when you are expecting parkin would be big let dow.
Judy Schultheis says
I don’t think I’ve ever had any of this stuff. Very persnickity sweet tooth.
Had to look up agar. First time I saw it I thought it was a typo but then she wrote it as agar agar and kept looking at it, so I looked it up. Who names these things?
Moderator R says
In this case, Malayan people. It might surprise you to find out that foreign languages exist and we really don’t need to be rude about them just because we’re ignorant ????
Wasn’t being rude, just made an assumption that it derived from English, since it sounds similar to some words in English. (And English, if I remember correctly, is derived from German, a smattering of romance languages, and probably anything else that sounded good at the time.)
Don’t particularly care for being called out as being rude when that wasn’t my intention. Ignorant I’ll grant you, since I’d never heard of the term before and was why I looked it up. I just didn’t look far enough to see where the term originated.
I had a similar reaction. If you had asked me, I’d have guessed agar agar to be one of those scientific double names, like homo sapiens sapiens.
Thanks to this exchange, I now know those are called tautonyms and there are even triple tautonyms (!), but only for animals, as botanists banned them in 1906.
I’ll have learnt something new today…
Donna A says
Wait til you hear about this stuff called gelatine, from the Latin for frozen – nothing to do with bones or what it’s made from, should be called boiled bones extract right? I mean Latin?! That’s not even a living language. Those Romans, eh, what have they ever done for us? ????????????
Yeah, I remembered reading that’s where gelatine came from. Makes you wonder how hungry the first person was to try that or if its discovery was a happy accident. Although I could see that originating as a folk remedy maybe and people realizing it could be used for something else.
Almost certainly an accident. After the larger pieces of meat were carved from the bones, the remainder was boiled for soup. Boiling would soften the last scraps of meat, causing them to fall off the bones, so they can be eaten. [We still do this with our Thanksgiving turkey, to make turkey soup.] If that gets overcooked, the meat and bones turn to mush. The overcooked liquid, when cooled, becomes rubbery. That’s how we made gelatin before there was Jell-O. It used to be common to add spices, meat, and vegetables to the meat jello, to eat cold. That’s called aspic.
Agar is made from seaweed and is very firm even at very warm room temps, unlike gelatin. So it’s a common ingredient in media (food) for growing bacteria. Have thus used it daily in my work for the last 40 years. It used to be very hard to find for food use when I was young here in the US. Fortunately that has changed!
Agar Agar from red seaweed and used to make cultures for bacterial growth? Scrunching forehead, frowning. I mean, I *thought* that’s what agar agar is? Hum.. Never thought of it in cooking before. I remember the Irish collecting seaweed, (thank you Altan for Dulaman the song, tho I prefer the version with Clannad, LOL) But it was for Carrageenan/Carrageen?
I have tried pastilla in several forms. My vote is: just say no.
My family would make meringues at Christmas. They were a lot of work and would go into the oven at the end of the day. The oven was turned off and the meringues cooked and dried as the oven cooled. The next morning we would have these great cookies. The ones with mini chocolate chips or grated chocolate were the best, but everyone would try and get them while they were still warm. Think crispy meringues with melted chocolate stolen from the oven in the middle of the night. They are now a rarity; we don’t do as much baking to have the leftover egg whites. Thus, I bought pastilla trying to substitute. It was not a good substitute.
Haven’t heard about any of this. I’m fine with that.
Hi in Puerto Rico zefir is merengues is very very sweet!
I’ve had Zefir… at some distant point in the past…. Never repeated!
My mom sent me a link today to watch a new super bowl ad. It came with the note bring the tissues. Dumb me watched it and now I’m devastated.Don’t watch things that come with the “bring the tissues” rating.
Just read the nice blog with the nice authors and odd queries from the community ????
I’ve had Belyovskaya pastila and it’s closer to zefir texture. It is primarily apple based dessert. And pretty good with tea. Our local Russian store in MA sometimes has it.
Cymru Llewes says
Eastern or Western Massachusetts? I know there is the Siberia Market behind MoMs in Manchester, NH. They have/had kissel and Ahmad of London fruit tea.
(Not that I should be going that far afield during these times, unless it’s an emergency. )
I can’t speak for Zemfirka but there are Russian stores in my original home town of Westfield MA which is western MA. There was a large influx of Russian immigrants I think starting in the ‘90s.
Nothing to add to the sweet discussion other than I actually like flavored divinity. I haven’t had any since my mom died in 1998.
I was looking for something in an upper cabinet and found a zip lock bag with Russian tea mix in it! Only God knows how old that mix is but still tasty! My SIL and I had a good laugh about it.
Never heard of it and think I will skip. Thanks for info tho! Hehe
Jeffrey F. Smith says
Ok you want an odd dessert that you’d never believe was delicious I’ve got one. It came from my maternal grandmother’s recipe book she inherited from her mother. It is a form of candy with three ingredients powdered sugar, peanut butter (originally tree nut butter), and one potato. I will occasionally mix cocoa powder into the powdered sugar.
Boil the potato until it is cooked through but still hard to the touch. Next peel it by shocking it in cold water and then removing peel. Allow to cool but not get cold* and slowly mix in the powdered sugar until the potato/sugar mixture is the consistency of a soft pie dough/hard bread dough. Roll out into a rectangle using powdered sugar as a board dusting. Butter the potato/sugar mixture with peanut butter leaving a 2 inch gap at the wide end. Overlap the unbuttered end with the peanut butter and roll up like a rolled dessert. Cut the roll at half inch to 1 inch spacing. Chill in refrigerator until firm to touch. I find them delicious you may or may not.
I can understand the use of the potato great grandma was an Irish immigrant. I have never figured out the use of the sugar because the time** it would have been an expensive luxury and the original tree nuts could have been either a normal part of their diet or a luxury depending on type from what I have read.
*To hot and you get a sweet slush, and too cold won’t mix properly.
**Great grandma, her husband, and her 8 oldest children of 17 total came to the US after 1880 but before the turn of the last century I do not know the exact year.
What did she call the dessert?
Jeffrey F. Smith says
It is simply called potato candy and is probably enjoyed anywhere potatoes are.
I’ve tried some of her other recipes all of which were handwritten. My favorite is her version of a Shepherds pie it is heavy on potatoes and rutabaga very light as in none on carrots and has a fair amount of meat and gravy.
How does the potato ingrediate become “rollable”? I think in a lot of pastries, there’s gluten in the flour or eggs that hold it together. I wouldn’t think powdered sugar would replace those. Thoughts?
That is a traditional Quebecer candies as well
I must say it was pretty good when I got some a while back ????
April White says
Potato candy is a old Southern dessert really came into it’s heyday during the Great Depression. Sugar was actually cheap during that time and peanuts and potatoes were also easily available. I’ve made the candy before and even demonstrated how to make it as part of my job at a Museum. I personally don’t care for it because it’s to sweet for me but I know lots of people love it.
Tablet is fantastic…it takes a true Scot to appreciate it..and yes I’m born & bred in Scotland..I probably bleed tartan!!
amber dawn says
My favorite dessert is Rhubarb Crisp, BUt only rhubarb , Do not put strawberrys in my rhubarb.
so i can understand the hate poeple have for the pastilla, divinity, or marshmellow things in genral.
is a good recipe for it. just leave out the strawberrys
hope your days go better
Ah… we call this rubarb crumble I’m new zealand. I’ve got rubarb in the garden and from the title ‘crisp” was imagining peanut brittle or crunchy biscuit recipe. Made me smile. Thanks.
I don’t know about pastilla. We do have pastillas. It’s a milk dessert. You add condensed milk to powdered milk then roll them into balls and put rainbow sprinkles or white sugar on top. Kids love it, adults roll their eyes, because hey, tooth decay.
Alright, I will plead guilty to part of the formation of this post. ; )
My husband and I are laughing so hard as I read it! I purchased a stand up mixer just to make it. The hand mixer just doesn’t cut it. *I also wanted to try bread.* Hehehe
FYI, I do not use agar in my Pastille. I also leave the skins on the apples. I’m not sure what the ‘right’ texture is, but I like it dry but not chewy. To me it tastes like apple muffins. The apple skin leaves a tartness if you use Granny Smiths.
Perhaps I like the idea as much as the actual dessert, but I have some on the oven. Theres ice and snow here, so time to cook when you can’t get out. : )
Moderator R says
Stay safe, Ama! ????
I’ve got a pastila drying in the oven as I type. Just over five hours down and about seventeen more to go. Ha-ha!
Never mind pastilla. Eat medovik! We are lucky enough to have a local bakery/deli that offers medovik for sale – so yummy:) Medovik is honey cake, decadent multiple layers of super moist cake with cream filling……
My friend tried to make that one- delicious though a lot of work. I’ll have to find a bakery in London that makes that well too try it again
My Russian grandmother would have had harsh things to say about that dessert and then suggested strudel.
this is recepies for medovnik 😀 … Im from Slovakia and never heard about pastilla and i have some realatives from Russia and my grand grand mother always cook some great russia cakes
Hello BDH. I have a question. Today I took my two year old granddaughter out to a fabric store and then lunch at Panera Bread. Fun was had by all. As we sat there, three middle aged ladies who had been eating nearby got up to leave and stopped at my table and one asked how old my granddaughter was etc. We talked for a few minutes and all three had European accents. I would say Eastern European. One said as she was leaving “She will be beautiful when she grows up.” When she said that she started walking toward the door but one of the other ladies stopped and seemed a little shocked. She turned around and came back to my table and spoke in what I assume to be her native tongue and knocked on the wood table. She repeated the same word she said two times and knocked several times. And then smiled at me and left. I wish I knew how to spell the word she spoke, but it definitely started with a M sound. Now when I was a kid we would sometimes say something and then we “would knock on wood” so we wouldn’t jinx ourselves. Does that sound like what she was doing? I am not upset at all by what occurred. I am just curious if the BDH has any insight.
She was knocking on wood to ward off unclean spirits. Not sure about the M word, but if she was Russian, you might have heard her imitating spitting to keep the devil away.
Sometimes “tipun tehbeh nuh yazyk” is also said, literally meaning wishing a horn like growth onto the speaker’s tongue. It sounds weird, but birds have a growth on their tongue and there is a specific avian disease which makes it grow disproportionately supposedly preventing birds from singing.
Welcome to the land of Slavic superstitions. Also who was that uncultured person who temped the fate by complimenting a child in this way in public? Not okay.
Thank you so much for the explanation!
I used to work with a lovely lady from Czechoslovakia. Once, we were at lunch and her daughter joined us. She was 10 or 11, and stunning. Someone at the table said something about how gorgeous she would be as an adult, and my friend got pretty upset about it and said that was inviting misfortune. Someone else eating with us mentioned that in their culture, they gave their boy children weird bad names as babies so the spirits wouldn’t realize they had a precious boy child and the kid would grow up okay.
I suspect the second lady was trying to counter any bad luck that the first may have unleashed with her compliment.
Zefir looks like meringue cookies yes?
Weird things we eat here in PH: Buro (Fermented Rice with Fish or Shrimp)–never mind the Balut, this Buro is like a dip for boiled vegetables (Eggplant and greens). We once had a British friend taste this–he dipped some chips on it (despite our warning)–and he dry heaved after, poor guy.
Valerie in CA says
I don’t know how to say this from the Ukrainian point of view…but I am going to try.
Pastilla comes from a Slavic word according to the host. Slavic and Russian cultures are worlds apart. To be snarky. She calls it “ A historic recipe”.
And maybe this would carry more weight if a real Russian person could give the origins. Whenever I watched my Baba cook I always had a story, a remembrance, from her.
And if this person calls me “lovelies” again, I am going to find her and smack her.
Moderator R says
Well that’s a bit disproportionately aggressive, but ok ????. I would not advise watching that channel again!
Yes, except that Russian, Ukranian, and Belarussian are all part of the East Slavic Language group. Until 13th century we all spoke Old East Slavic. 🙂
I suppose if we are splitting hairs, “Russian” as a nationality, if such a term can be applied, now encompasses a melting pot of cultures with a lot of influence from Tatars, Baltic nations, Turks, etc. But the fact remains: we look similar to our Ukranian and Belorussian neighbors, we can understand chunks of each other’s languages without taking classes, so we are “related” to other East Slavs. Now West Slavs is a different story.
Like many things, this is a political topic due to current tensions, so I am going to rely on Mod R to close this thread.
So… I never used to eat this before. And when I was a kid it was never really popular. But with the nationalist revival pastilla is being pushed a bit in Russia at the moment. As it has few additives it is being promoted as a healthy dessert. The Belyovskaya version is sold everywhere. And some people do buy it.
Zefir is fine though. Quite popular still in St. Petersburg.
Linda Trainor says
Hi very soon apricots will be over ripe and I will make it into leather with my dehydrator. I vac Pak it so it last a year.
Jacob K says
I don’t know if another game / distraction is what you want when editing, but I just started playing Dyson Sphere Program and it’s awesome.
Lots of tools to build and power lines to route in nice linear patterns. Plus the smallest bit of space exploration, with a large tech tree. It’s been a good time so far, so if you get a chance you might take a look at it.
I remember pastilla from childhood. It came in nice boxes and was quite a treat. Ma4shmellow with some juice or other. Different pastel colours. Very beautiful for a small girl. Now the closest I can get in Europe are sweets formed like bananas.I dont remember name really, because Indo not like them any more.
But zefir is still made and in different tastes in Latvia. Very good and surprisingly few calories!
Домашнюю белевскую пастилу делают без агара. Много яблочного пюре, немного белков, взбить и медленно-медленно сушить. Безумно вкусно. Благодаря высокому содержанию пектина, считается “полезной” сладостью, в небольших количествах можно при атеросклерозе и диабете.
Чудовищно долго и нудно готовить (2 дня в духовке при 70 градусах).
Именно поэтому ее сейчас обычно покупают. Только стоит она в 10 раз дороже зефира ))
I love EmmyMade on Youtube! Even her weirder recipes are fun to watch.
Yeah, Zifir i have definitely heard of, but pastila, I have never heard of it.
I suspect we all naturally think of Ilona whenever we have questions about Russian cuisine. I always love it when she shares recipes.
I emailed Ilona some months ago because I bought an instant cheesecake mix that called for a fat-heavy sour cream that Wikipedia says is common in Central & Eastern Europe — Smetana (or Schmand, depending where you are).
It is not common in Austria.
We were in hard lockdown, which kept specialty grocery stores closed. What to do? Ask Ilona! So I emailed and asked.
Ilona provided me with a recipe that worked so well that a Polish acquaintance said it tasted like she’d bought it in Poland.
(And my husband teased me a lot about buying a cake mix for convenience that resulted in a 24 hour process to hand make special sour cream).
Cymru Llewes says
Share, please. The Smetana recipe, that is. I’m willing to try making the medovik cake once more with Smetana as plain sour cream was just eh.
Cheesecake is easy. No bake is one crumb pie crust 9 inch diameter, 8 Oz cream cheese, 14 Oz (1 can) sweetened condensed milk, and 1/3 cup lemon juice. Mix everything and pour into the crust, refrigerate for 3 hours, top with fruit pie filling of choice (normally cherry or strawberry but blueberry is also good) before serving.
Hrm, Philly cream cheese is available again and Oreos come in thin dark chocolate almost wafers…. I might be making cheesecake tomorrow. Especially if the blueberry/strawberry jam is still closer to sauce.
Uhm. It’s long. But ok. This is what Ilona sent me:
if you do want to make your own, you need good, high fat milk and kefir. If you do not have high fat milk, you can add some butter to regular milk.
You will need about 1 liter of milk and 4 Tablespoon of kefir.
First, warm the milk on the stove. Bring it to boil, watch it closely, it will rise. Once you brought it to boil, let cool until you can touch the pot and it’s pleasantly warm.
Whip it with a whisk a bit, add kefir, and whip a bit more. Do not use blender.
Put a lid on the pot, wrap everything in thick towels to preserve heat and leave on the counter for 7 hours.
You will end up with prostokvasha. Line sieve with cheesecloth, preferably at least two layers, set the sieve into a bowl, and pour prostokvasha into it. Put the whole thing into the fridge. Do not cover. It helps to periodically stir it, but usually this is done overnight. In the morning, you will have smetana in the sieve. Stir well and serve.
Visual guide: https://1000.menu/cooking/35331-domashnyaya-smetana-iz-moloka
You can make it out of cream as well. If you want a quick hack, you will need about 1 liter of whipping cream, a pinch of lemon acid, and 1 teaspoon of melted agar-agar. You can also use the recipe above with milk and heavy cream mix, half and a half. If you google it, you will find a bunch of recipes. But the above recipe is the easiest, most proven way.
I asked her about high fat milk. I know from being in Austria that US milk is way below 4% (Ilona said it was 3.25% and I saw no reason to disagree since milk here generally runs 3.5%, which is clearly marked). I found some that was 3.8% and used this formula to add cream to bring it to 4%:
Gaëlle from France says
Doesn’t look at all like the pastilla that we have in France. Our pastilla comes from Maghreb (north africa) and it’s really good. It’s often filled with chicken, but you can put whatever meat you want…. Yum yum
This reminds me of the “Midwest” Watergate Salad or the equally gross “Midwest” Popcorn Salad. I have lived in the Midwest my entire life and have never seen these things at any picnic, family gathering, or on any dinner plate. The Watergate salad may have once been a thing, but nobody will eat it if you bring it. The popcorn salad – idk what that even is. There’s plenty of other traditionally Midwest desserts that are amazing (gooey butter cake, for one). Not sure why everyone assumes we only make things with startling amounts of sugar or corn.
Judy B says
Have you heard of, “Divinity?”
It is a delicious cookie popular in eastern Canada. Essentially it’s whipped egg whites with sugar and any kind of flavouring.
Sometimes we add crushed pecans, or coconut. Baked for 10 minutes or so in a medium-warm oven.
Often considered a step up from home made candies or fudge.
My mother made divinity every xmas. I loved it. But insanely sweet and not easy.Havent had it for many decades. She stopped after I left for college. Yes, definitely nuts in it. Good memory.
Sounds a little different from the divinity I had growing up in Wisconsin. Ours is also egg white based, but used hot sugar syrup added to the beaten egg whites–always in a very thin stream–to cook and set the candy. Done right, the texture is creamy, like the best fudge. Not like meringue. Done wrong or on a humid day, you’d get something like spoon fudge. still tasted divine, tho. And yes–add pecans. It is killer sweet, but so good. I understand it’s a southern thing.
Ms Blaise says
Hunt the Stars was great! Thankyou! I really liked it. Similar vibe to The Dragon Variation”. It took 4 hours one night. Just perfect.
Back into re reading the innkeeper series now …. Stardust on her robe and the universe in her eyes.
I temember reading about pastilla as a sweet in books about early 20th century and 1930s, but don’t remember it for sale in Kiev when I was growing up.
I always found zephyr sickenengly sweet even as a child, it’s not something you put on a table for guests. “Киевский торт ” on the other hand was more acceptable. Although, I seem to remember that having a homemade cake was always more acceptable than store bought stuff. That just maybe more my family then a Russian or Ukranian thing
Peggy Berg says
But, you must try Moroccan Pastilla. It is divine and the national dish. Crispy filo dough on all sides. Spiced chicken and hard boiled eggs – it’s a special spice arrangement built around cinnamon. Melts in the mouth. Exotic and delicious. I first had it at my sister’s home in Morocco and would happily fly across the ocean to have it again (or fly the cook here).
That does sound good, off to hunt for a recipe. Unless you’d like to share one?
Ms Blaise says
Dina and Gertrude, and Nell and Soulwood are two of the most interesting literary creations recently, I think.
A hundred years ago, while reading the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, I was given the task of creating Turkish Delight to bring to class for everyone to -ahem- enjoy.
Note, this is prior to the existence of Google and easy peasy lemon squeezy recipe searches, and it was also well before I had any idea what I was doing in the kitchen. I found some bizarre recipe at the pubic library, hand-copied it down, went to the store to purchase ingredients, came home and made the concoction.
I promptly went back to the public library to ensure I hadn’t improperly written down the recipe. I hadn’t.
The unfortunate result looked like some of those pictures. And brought that oh so delightful (note the dripping sarcasm) taste to mind, a taste I thought I’d blissfully forgotten in the last 4 decades… yish! No thank you
Barbara Swanson says
Hah! I am vindicated. She keeps being thrust into my youtube and the titles (no cooking, no butter, no sugar, 3 ingredients, DELICIOUS). Yeah, not buying it.
susan reynolds says
Turkish Delight is also called Loukoumades; every decade or so I buy a box which usually goes stale before it’s all eaten. Try a Greek supermarket or an ethnic grocery store. It tastes ok but the powdered sugar makes it really messy to eat.
There is a Mexican dessert of guava paste, which looks like the first illustration for pastilla, is not sickeningly sweet, and is available in some ethnic grocery stores. It is fairly tasty and probably good enough to risk eating some if you don’t have any loose fillings.
I think the yellow candies from Germany that look like bananas are probably marzipan. They generally are too sweet, but maybe 1-2 pieces a year accompanying some strong tea?
I was once given a recipe for “Russian tea,” which involved lemonade mix, Tang mix, instant tea mix, cinnamon, cloves, and I think more sugar. I am hoping that this is not what House Andrews drinks. Orro would be disappointed in you if you did.
Moderator R says
No, that is absolutely not what House Andrews or any Eastern European person drinks. It is entirely an American South invention. Here for the authentic stuff ???? https://ilona-andrews.com/2022/russian-tea/
I wanted — too late, the thread had closed — to ask about using candied cherries or sour cherries to sweeten Russian tea. I read it in several places within a week, and wanted to know if it was a legit tradition.
Susan D says
The “Russian Tea” recipe sounds like the recipe for “Friendship Tea” that was popular in the midwest when I was a kid in the 50’s. And of course I loved it for all the sugar.
Ms. Kim says
That sounds like “Texas tea” that I drank when stationed at Carswell AFB in Ft. Worth in the 1970s (now gone).
This article very much reminds me of an incident from my childhood. My mother is from Germany. When I was in Kindergarten, some older kids found this out & called me “Nazi” & “Kraut.” I could tell that these were mean things, but I didn’t know what they meant.
She told me “Kraut” stood for “sauerkraut.”
I had never eaten, nor seen anyone eat sauerkraut in my life. My mom said that no one in her family ate it, unless there literally was nothing else. It also was a more regional dish. (My mom is from the Rhineland/Pfalz region of Germany- near the French boarder).
In all my visits to Germany to visit my relatives, I never once saw it served, nor saw any actual Germans order it in restaurants. It almost seemed to me to be a dish for tourists!
Sauerkraut is certainly not a tourist dish. But it’s more of a traditional winter dish and not something you would usually order in a restaurant (unless it is a country restaurant, that specialises in it) or serve to guests (unless they specifically requested it).
In the last years Sauerkraut has become more “fashionable”, being served in versions with cream and fish or scallops for example or even raw as a salad.
But traditionally it is a dish served with for examply liver and blood sausages (like black pudding, perhaps), smoked or cured and usually not exactly lean meat … so not a dish for the faint hearted.
But very traditional in many regions of Germany, Switzerland and the Alsace (where they call it chou croute)
Erin Valentine says
At first I thought you meant you used that word in your book, and your readers were demanding you define it for them. As a 30-year educator, I was deeply offended that nobody taught these people how to use a dictionary.
Dianna Kilgore says
About Turkish delight. Many flavors can be found in middle eastern grocery stores. I like rose flavor. Try Applets and Cottlets. I have found at Walmart. Can be ordered. I love it.
Ok I’m from New Mexico and when I read this I thought Pastillas, small date or meat filled pastry, I scavenged my memory and recipe box and found the origional recipe given to me from a friends abuela. In the directions it has large meat filled can be called empanadas and small fruit Pastilla’s. So I was very confused for a few moments of reading before I read and googled pastillas to learn different meanings in different languages. How some cultures take something and it morphs into something…. similar to it’s origional. Sometimes remotely similar.
Can Romans new GF try to make this for a family potluck and have hilarity ensue?
I was very confused. I thought that pastilla was the moroccan pigeon or chicken pie recipe with filo pastry, cinnamon, almonds and onions.
The White and Pink things here in Italy are “meringhe” and they are goood!
We bought a cake-type thing this year at the Christmas markets from someone who said he was Russian and that said cake-thing was Russian. The box literature was certainly in Cyrillic, but…
It was cake made from apples and one other ingredient. But it was CAKE. If you got it flavored, it had another fruit in it — we got one plain, and one cherry.
And I don’t have the box or remember what it was called. Only that I couldn’t understand how they made cake that tasted like and was textured ALMOST like cake and it was made from only apples and one other thing (the other thing was something normal. Or that I would consider normal. Egg whites or water or sugar or something I would use in a recipe. I will ask the friends who were with me if they remember). That was, indeed, a miracle.
My heritage is Russian and this was a new one for me too. My relatives had never heard of it. I thought pastilla was a Moroccan pie with phyllo, eggs, cinnamon and pigeon or chicken meat.
About зефир, I make something like it whenever I make mayonnaise. I use the leftover egg whites. However, I make a traditional meringue cookie which is crispy and light and for increased delight I add chocolate chips.
Speaking of grandmothers, my grandmother was a great cook. She was French and her husband (grandfather) was German. Christmas goodies were fantastic! She taught me how to make mayonnaise.
Zefir sounds like something I loved as a child.We call it kisses.
It is made from beaten egg whites for a long time,then drop of vinegar and at the end sugar.If you mix the ingredients differently you~ve got meringue.But if you add the sugar at the end when the egg whites are almost hard is perfect.The secret is in the air.More air in the mix,more perfection.Then you make little dots(spoon sized) on a baking paper and bake at low temperature 50-100C(130 -200F).It is more of drying than baking.This desert is crunchy,very sweet and depending on the cook sometimes soft core.I loved it.Not good for teeth but…
No way! HAHA, what..? I made sugar-free pastilla last week after watching that exact video! There may of may not be footage of me baking it on TikTok to the tune of ‘Rasputin’ (both the Boney M. version and the remix) with pictures of Dostoevsky and Tolstoy, who supposedly loved pastilla. My husband distinctly remembered the mention of some sort of dessert in War and Peace that could very well have been pastilla. Naturally, this was all the confirmation I needed to run with it. Now I feel a little silly. (Me to me: ‘Really, *now* you feel silly?’)
Anyway, I liked the pastilla. I added cinnamon. But it’s basically candy and super sticky and A LOT of work, so I can’t really recommend it. Just make a pretty Pavlova instead and be done with it. 🙂
I made Pastilla with the apples from my sad apple tree… So.. ya.. family did not like it, I spent two days on it and it was slightly better than apple flavored cardboard. It was fun watching apple sauce and egg whites turn into this whip cream kind of thing.
Karma Calling says
Go Mi Nam – nice shout out to “You Are Beautiful” fans. In honor of Park Shin Hye’s wedding? Thanks for all of the awesome stories that fill our days with love, adventure, and excitement….to those who dream we love you guys!
Well, I don’t know about the Russian pastilla but let me tell you, a Moroccan pastilla is to die for. I am not brave enough to attempt to make it myself but I can’t resist it if I ever come across it! I can’t help but think of Rachel from Friends when I look at the recipe. And yet it works ????♀️
I’ve made pastilla with Granny Smith apples, and it was fecking delicious. I’d recommend doing it in a dehydrator rather than the oven, simply for the time & energy savings.